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Column: GOP says Probate backlog alarming

Three years ago, Lancaster County Republicans, seeking to improve the level of service in county government, fielded a candidate for probate judge.
Jerry Holt lost in a close race to a two-decade Democratic incumbent. Holt challenged the status quo in the probate court, calling for reforms in the office to improve service, make the office more customer-friendly and prepare for the county’s continued growth.
According to recent court statistics, these reforms are needed now more than ever.


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Lancaster News | circulation@thelancasternews.com | 803-283-1133
PO Box 640; 701 North White St, Lancaster SC 29720
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Column: Why tax credits are a bad idea

Tax credits can be some of the worst policies a government can pass.
Taxes, as a rule, should be broad-based (everybody pays them) and low-rate (nobody pays much). Tax credits usually violate that principle – after all, tax cuts are different from tax favors. The former lower the overall burden for everyone, and the latter make exemptions for favored businesses, individuals, or sectors at the expense of everyone else.
And of course, targeted tax credits are often used for economic development – or so the claim goes.


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Lancaster News | circulation@thelancasternews.com | 803-283-1133
PO Box 640; 701 North White St, Lancaster SC 29720
Office Hours are 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday

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Column: My pessimism about Congress keeps growing

By Dr. L. Brooks Walker

I have been watching the actions in Washington for the past several weeks with great interest and have come to some conclusions.
First, regardless of how you feel about Donald Trump, he has been the catalyst to prove what we have suspected about our government – that we the people have very little control of the “government by the people.” We are the “sheeple” that are needed to justify career politicians’ existence.


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Lancaster News | circulation@thelancasternews.com | 803-283-1133
PO Box 640; 701 North White St, Lancaster SC 29720
Office Hours are 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday

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Column: Is the American Dream alive or dead?

By Phil Noble

If you stop and really think about it, this is the most fundamental question one could ask about our state and nation.
And the answer says a lot about the kind of people we are as a state and a nation.
The American Dream is both very simple and very profound. It has been the driving force behind our country since its earliest days.
We all have our own slightly different definitions of the American Dream. This is mine: If you work hard and play by the rules, your children will be better off than you are.


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Lancaster News | circulation@thelancasternews.com | 803-283-1133
PO Box 640; 701 North White St, Lancaster SC 29720
Office Hours are 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday

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Column: We pay more for electricity than any other state, but not all of us do

In a ranking of states by total energy costs, South Carolina is solidly in the middle, at 24th most expensive.
When the costs of electricity, natural gas, motor fuel and home heating oil are averaged and combined, state residents spent $278 per month.
That’s much better than the most expensive state, Connecticut, at $380, and much worse than the least expensive, Washington, at $226. (The District of Columbia is even lower, at $219.)
More curious is the ranking of states just on monthly retail electricity costs.


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Lancaster News | circulation@thelancasternews.com | 803-283-1133
PO Box 640; 701 North White St, Lancaster SC 29720
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Column: Consulting jobs for ex-agency heads costly and unnecessary

According to a contract obtained by the Post and Courier, the former head of the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control, Catherine Templeton, accepted a contract with the agency just one day after she left her position in January 2015.
As DHEC director, she was paid $13,500 a month. After signing her no-bid consulting contract, she was paid $17,300 a month – a 28 percent increase.


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Column: Where Dems are in charge, everything is falling apart

By Rudy Schmidt

Dimple Ajmera, a Charlotte City Council member, said last week that any Republican who supports President Donald Trump has no place on the city council or in the Charlotte mayor’s race. 
Her liberal Democrat self-satisfaction is off the chart. She and her party consider themselves the epitome of compassion, empathy, goodness and light, while believing that conservative Republicans are full of greed and hate.


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Column: Open government has come a long way in the last decade

It was 10 years ago this month that I began developing plans for what would eventually become the state’s fiscal transparency website – one of the first such sites in the country. The goal was to provide citizens easy access to details about how state government spends their money.


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Column: Feeling nibbled at checkout line? This may be the reason

If you shop locally and wonder where the money goes, the Tax Foundation has an explanation. South Carolinians pay the 17th-highest sales taxes in the nation, according to a new midyear report from the nonpartisan think tank.
The ranking, arrived at by combining state sales taxes and a population-weighted average of local sales taxes, is another rebuke to public officials who tout the Palmetto State as a low-tax environment.


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Blogger Will Folks might end up in jail

Column: The holes in state’s shield law

A judge is considering whether to hold S.C. political blogger Will Folks in contempt and possibly jail him for refusing to reveal a confidential source.
The case points out an intentional gap that South Carolina left in its reporters’ shield law. In most other states, Folks would not be facing possible jail time.


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